DoD Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Beneficiaries Age 75 and Older

DoD Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Beneficiaries Age 75 and Older
Navy Seaman Milan Torres, a hospitalman, and Army Spc. Angel Laureano prepare a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to a patient at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. (Photo by Lisa Ferdinando/DoD)

(Updated Feb. 2 with new information on vaccine availability at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center)

 

Following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the military health system has expanded COVID-19 vaccine distribution at military treatment facilities (MTFs) to beneficiaries who are age 75 or older.

 

Vaccine availability will vary by MTF and over time. Please watch your MTF’s website, news media, or social media to stay informed about the status of vaccine availability at your military hospital or clinic. MTFs also will be conducting direct outreach to beneficiaries who are eligible for the vaccine.

 

As an example, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, Md., began vaccinating beneficiaries last week after posting an announcement on their Facebook page with the time and location for the COVID vaccine clinic. After two days, their supply became constrained; as of Jan. 15, they’ve paused new beneficiary vaccinations (offering second doses only) pending the arrival of future shipments. Walter Reed has established a COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline (301-295-2829) for the most up-to-date information on vaccine availability. (Feb. 2 update: Learn more here about the recent restart of first-dose vaccine availability at Walter Reed) 

 

[COVID-19 NEWS AND RESOURCES: MOAA.org/Coronavirus]

 

MOAA has heard from several members who successfully received the vaccine at Walter Reed and offered glowing reports about the experience:

  • “Superb and caring operation!  We got the shot within 15 min after arrival and were out the door after the requisite 15 min holdover. It was military medicine at its best: highly organized, efficient, supportive, caring.  A testimony to the great staff at WRNMMC.”
  • “My wife and I walked into the Walter Reed gym at 0830 and back out with our vaccine at 0930. Great operation. BZ to the team.”

 

Once the initial phases of the vaccine distribution are completed, the vaccines will be more broadly available. Eventually, all beneficiaries will be able to get the vaccine from MTFs, civilian providers, and TRICARE network pharmacies.

 

[MORE FROM MILITARY TIMES: More Than a Million Military Retirees, Spouses Now Eligible for COVID Vaccination]

 

State and local jurisdictions are responsible for establishing eligibility priorities for vaccines administered by civilian pharmacies and providers. If you are not near an MTF, please check state and local government websites and news coverage for vaccine availability in your area.

 

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About the Author

Karen Ruedisueli
Karen Ruedisueli

Ruedisueli is MOAA’s Director of Government Relations for Health Affairs and also serves as co-chair of The Military Coalition’s (TMC) Health Care Committee. She spent six years with the National Military Family Association, advocating for families of the uniformed services with a focus on health care and military caregivers.